April 12th, 2008 10:26 EST
Southern California Doctor Charged with Anabolic Steroid and Human Growth Hormone Distribution
SAN JOSE – United States Attorney Joseph P. Russoniello announced that a federal grand jury in San Jose has indicted Dr. Ramon Scruggs, 60, of Tustin, California, Allan Danto, 54, of San Diego, California, and Heidi MacPherson, 39, of Laguna Niguel, California on counts of conspiracy to commit offenses against the United States, conspiracy to commit money laundering, and money laundering. In addition, Dr. Scruggs is also charged with four counts of distribution of anabolic steroids and four counts of misbranding drugs held for sale with intent to defraud and mislead.
The indictment, which was returned under seal on March 6, 2008, was unsealed today. The conspiracy charge against all three defendants alleges that the defendants conspired to: (1) distribute anabolic steroids in a manner which was outside the scope of professional medical practice, and not for a legitimate medical purpose; (2) smuggle human growth hormone into the United States in a manner contrary to law; and (3) misbrand drugs held for sale with intent to defraud and mislead.
According to the indictment, Dr. Scruggs was a physician who operated his medical practice at New Hope Health Center located in Costa Mesa, California. Under the name of New Hope Health Center, Scruggs and two employees in his office, Mr. Danto and Ms. McPherson, conspired to distribute anabolic steroids, human growth hormone (“HGH”) and various other prescription drugs in a manner outside the usual course of practice, for non-legitimate purposes, including performance enhancement, aesthetic body improvement and other non-medical reasons.
The non-legitimate prescriptions written by Dr. Scruggs were forwarded to pharmacies both inside and outside the state of California, including Signature Pharmacy, in Orlando, Florida, and the drugs were subsequently delivered from the pharmacies to Dr. Scruggs’s clients throughout the United States, including the Northern District of California. At other times, syringes were pre-loaded with anabolic steroids and sent directly from the New Hope Health Center to Dr. Scruggs’s clients.
The defendants are not in custody, and their initial appearances have not yet been scheduled.
The maximum statutory penalty for the count of conspiracy to commit offenses against the United States in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 371 and for each count of distribution of anabolic steroids in violation of 21 U.S.C. § 841 is five years imprisonment and a $250,000 fine.
The maximum statutory penalty for each count of misbranding drugs held for sale with intent to defraud and mislead in violation of 21 U.S.C. § 331(k) and 333(b) is three years imprisonment and a $250,000 fine.
The maximum statutory penalty for the count of conspiracy to commit money laundering in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1956 and the count of money laundering in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1956 is 20 years imprisonment and a $500,000 fine.
However, any sentence following conviction would be imposed by the court after consideration of the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and the federal statute governing the imposition of a sentence, 18 U.S.C. § 3553.
Matt Parrella, Jeff Nedrow, and Jeff Finigan are the Assistant United States Attorneys who are prosecuting the case with the assistance of Brenda Hodgen and Susan Kreider. The prosecution is the result of a four-year investigation by the Drug Enforcement Administration, the Food and Drug Administration Office of Criminal Investigations, and the Internal Revenue Service Criminal Investigation.
Please note, an indictment contains only allegations against an individual and, as with all defendants, Dr. Scruggs, Mr. Danto, and Ms. McPherson must be presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.
Case #: 08-00144
A copy of this press release may be found on the U.S. Attorney’s Office’s website at www.usdoj.gov/usao/can.
Electronic court filings and further procedural and docket information are available at https://ecf.cand.uscourts.gov/cgi-bin/login.pl.
Judges’ calendars with schedules for upcoming court hearings can be viewed on the court’s website at www.cand.uscourts.gov.
All press inquiries to the U.S. Attorney’s Office should be directed to Joshua Eaton at (415) 436-6958 or by email at Josh.Eaton@usdoj.gov.